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Friday, 18 November 2016

Merkel / Obama call for greater web control

The White House clip below is just over ten minutes long and worth careful watching. Merkel and Obama are clear that it was the internet that lost Hillary the US Presidency, the internet that caused Brexit and the internet that's responsible for a wave of global populism. And they really don't like it.

Obama is the more reasonable of the two, recognising that there are those "who feel left behind by globalisation". No, Mr President, not feel but have been. And he identifies that the way in which the web allows disparities in wealth, opportunity and potential to be identified by all without establishment censorship or filtering, and across the globe, is causing the neolib world order some problems.

Merkel is less guarded, more forthright. She draws correct parallels but misses the conclusions by a sea mile.  She blames the internet explicitly for the 'populist' movements that threaten her hegemony, and states unequivocally that it must be controlled. She draws parallels with the effects of the invention of the printing press, and of the transition from agricultural to industrial economies as having similar 'disruptive' consequences, and also needed to be controlled.

And this is where she loses the insight. Both the invention of the printing press and the industrial revolution led to step changes that exponentially increased democratic power. The printing press empowered a new middle class that ended the division of society into lords and peasants, and the advent of industry provoked unassailable demands throughout Europe for greater democratic control in 1848. For sure, the incumbent authorities did all they could  to halt the advance - the grisly execution of those operating unlicensed printing presses in the 1500s, cavalry slashing at women and children with sabres at pro-democracy rallies in the 1800s. Does Merkel really want a third wave of cruel and pointless repression in a doomed effort to halt the progress of this new leap of democracy?

The real problem is that Merkel and Obama simply can't see that they are now where the feudal lords were in the sixteenth century, where the landed gentry were in the nineteenth. And either they recognise the wave of change, of new democratic progress that ends the era of representative democracy and starts a new era of participative democracy, or they will will be swept away by it.


Quiet_Man said...

They want greater control to stifle dissent. After all, if we can't find out the truth, they can peddle their lies at ease.

Barnacle Bill said...

"Does Merkel really want a third wave of cruel and pointless repression ..."

Looking at the reaction of our political elites post Brexit and now after Trump's victory I would say it's not just Frau Merkel but the whole global basket of them.

They couldn't win the fight fairly so they are going to do whatever they need too to win the next round. May and those behind her are already doing their bit by delaying ringing the opening bell in the next Brexit round. Hoping we'll all become bored and worn down by the lack of action.

So prepare for the day when you will only be allowed a government licenced and chipped router.

Anonymous said...

Secrets, lies, snooping and hypocrisy and still they TPTB just don't get it!!!

But to anyone who thinks that, Shariza May is the answer and as Brexit facilitator, you need to start taking the tablets or increase the medication. As sure as shit the Establishment is stitching us up and Theresa is fully on board with it.

Moreover, on Theresa 'the TERRIBLE' May and sneaking in her snoopers charter, what happened to her and the democratic process??

The unelected talking about treason and betrayal...................

More to the point no one ever elected her to be boss of the CONS - May and that unelected poseur of a fucking judge the other day, a fat gormless oh so fucking precious lady wotsherface, pontificating on and about referencing to rescinding the 1972 European communities [farcical] act, implying a subtext of the British will never be allowed to leave the Brussels Empire who the fuck in Britain ever got to vote on that?
For bloody certain, the people were not asked and it was and based on a whopping LIE the [Heath knew full well it was a formative Superstate] 'common market' railroaded through our so called but surely misnamed democratic HoP....that's not democracy that's fucking tyranny.

As to Merkl and her mate, both of those two cunts, what the fuck do they ever believe, credit in democratic procedure - allow me to inform you - FA, zilch, fresh air to nothing.

DeeDee99 said...

Ve hav vays of making you conform to our vishes. And if ve don't haf zem now, ve are going to make sure ve get zem very quickly.

You vill not haf freedom of communication much longer.

Anonymous said...

Bye, both on their way out. Be gone, you have no place in today's society.

Dave_G said...

They might want control but, then again, wanting and having are two different sides of the coin as any script kiddie - let alone an anti-establishment hacking group - will tell you.

Encryption is broken, passwords revealed, emails hacked and that's despite the current 'controls' people have on their communications. God alone knows what could be unleashed if the establishment want to take this fight to the activists.

Government might introduce measures to control the casual user but those who actively WANT to do what they do will continue to do it regardless of controls supposedly designed to prevent them - i.e. all and every attempt to stop me using torrent sites (and they try every couple of weeks or so) have failed miserably!

mikebravo said...

Ex DDR propaganda chief demands power to stop free speech shocker!

Merkel is what she has always been. A statist, authoritarian masquerading as a democrat.

Can't have the plebs discussing things among themselves. Never know what sort of "populist" ideas they might come up with.

The real question is what will the plebs do when the control starts to slowly ratchet up?

Anonymous said...

Populism is ow a dirty word, it matters not even if the populist view is supported by 90% of the population. We appear to be tottering ever closer to dictatorship.

Dr Evil said...

hey have no control over the dark Web and will not control the light web either. They might try, but it will always be ahead of any of them.This is where outfits like Anonymous actually stick it to the oppressors.

Anonymous said...

This is far more serious than we'd like to admit. The undercurrent is about losing control of the narrative and that's where Merkel is right now. Raedwald says Obama "is the more reasonable of the two" but to my mind everything he has said since Clinton lost is him thinking about where his legacy will be this time next year - let's face it what will he be remembered for other than his skin colour amongst fellow citizens and his drone strikes amongst foreign citizens?

Merkel said:

"Digitisation is a disruptive technological force that brings about deep-seated change and transformation in society. Look at the history of the printing press, when this was invented what kind of consequences it had."

Digitization in this context is the capturing of thoughts and experiences which are relayed elsewhere - ideas move around at close to the speed of light = we all have our own printing press and we can deliver anywhere and anywhen. An ideologue would call this 'disruptive' when the idea (the aim) is being interfered with.

She's worried about her ideas, the technology is secondary. Her instinct is to control. The narrative must hold.


Cuffleyburgers said...

I must say two monumentally incoherent and boring ramblings.

You are right to sound alarm bells against the undoubted planned crackdown on internet as well as all other forms of liberty; but my god, I remember how Obama was supposed to be considered a good speaker, dear god the man is incapable of stringing more than 2-3 words together.

Rossa said...

Obama and Merkel represent the old Unipolar empire which is gradually imploding under its own arrogance and hubris. They just can't see that reality has long since passed them by. They are struggling to keep up with events let alone controlling them. Like all dying empires it takes time for the institutions and their minions to catch up. Chances are they will just get swept away by the new brooms.

The biggest mistake the old empire made was to let the Internet out 'into the wild'. That's one genie that ain't going back in the bottle whatever they say or do. TPTB clearly have no idea what has been wrought by the digital revolution.

Anonymous said...

Cuffleyburgers said @ 17:18

'I must say two monumentally incoherent and boring ramblings...I remember how Obama was supposed to be considered a good speaker, dear god the man is incapable of stringing more than 2-3 words together.'

Obama Without His Teleprompter


cascadian said...

I make a point of never listening to the halfrican, cuffleyburgers has noticed why- "the man is incapable of stringing more than 2-3 words together" "two monumentally incoherent and boring ramblings".

What we have here is socialist international in panic mode, their old ploy of controlling the press, universities, schools, TV-all of the propaganda outlets- has failed with the thinking, working electorate. Breitbart, Drudge and others are now consulted. For this reason the socialist international have been directed to smear them as alt-right and the hard-of-thinking follow right along.

Once again I find myself disagreeing with Raedwald's conclusion, representative democracy for all its faults has served the USA rather well smoothing out most populist extremes, it's the trendy proportional representation practiced in europe that has opened the door to green and feminazi extremists. It is notable that the two failures at the podium are not requesting electoral changes, they just want total power over information transfer-keep the plebs in the dark, so they can continue to experiment with crazy gimmegrant, pension, industrial and energy destroying plans

Bill Sticker said...

Obama has only until 20th January 2017 to frame and enact anti web freedom legislation which he hasn't got a prayer of getting passed via an overwhelmingly Republican Congress and the Senate. His successor has already promised to overturn many of Obama's executive orders, so only Merkel has a prayer of getting any action on web censorship before the Federal German election in 2017.

Think of this as the last quacks of a lame duck presidency.

Anonymous said...

Obama has had his go, now allow Trump to have his and though I expect miracles not, in the short term to medium outlook, I believe that, America will be set to be on the right track.

America is set to go, Britain will be shunted into a green siding when, during a forthcoming very cold winter and blackouts with May's jerk offs and her idiot Socialist typed pseudo democratic guff adhered to the green loonies.

Yes, those fucking idiots [the CON party]: signing that Paris emissions lark.

FFS the Paris limitation treaty - is, a very bad sign verging on economic suicide by using the vehicle of death by decarbonization [which prepares and hastens the end of coal fired electricity generation!!] and just when America is literally, metaphorically steaming in the other direction.

Theresa May WTF?

Andy Baxter said...

But...but... but... the internet works both ways. The establishment are perfectly capable of using the internet to put across THEIR message (and they do, as we well know).

At the end of the day, what happened in those two elections might well have had something to do with stuff being said online but I would suggest it has more to do with what people could see going on within their own communities with their very own eyes.

Ed P said...

John Ward at The Slog is having web problems - could be the first salvo from the control freaks.

Nigel Sedgwick said...

Raedwald writes well in part on this. But then he writes: "And either they recognise the wave of change, of new democratic progress that ends the era of representative democracy and starts a new era of participative democracy, or they will will be swept away by it."

I must disagree strongly on doing away with representative democracy. We just need to do it better.

The underlying reason for this is that the alternative of 'direct democracy' (or the presumably part-way 'participative democracy') is just too inefficient. Electors can spend more than a small fraction of their time understanding the level of detail required to make political decisions: that job of democratic overview must be left with our elected representatives. We electors have other things to be getting on with, like earning a living - more important in useful effect than second guessing our MPs on every issue.

I also remember Raedwald agreeing with me on this, during his considerations on Richard North's Harrogate agenda. Look here back in 2012, where Raedwald wrote: "The most recent item from Harrogate presented by Richard North is the issue of Direct Democracy, and here I diverge from the recommendations to come out of Harrogate. ... but the findings of [Helena Kennedy's 'Power' enquiry] panels recognised that elected representatives often had access to expert information, resources, and a broader view - and on all but the biggest issues, the final decision should be left to elected representatives."

Raedwald also, very correctly in my view, wrote: "I think it's important to recognise that MPs are representatives, not delegates; the people can be sovereign through a parliament of independently-minded MPs free of party ties and the Whip and subject to recall."

I think that the UK has done it about right on having referenda on the issues of the Alternative Vote and on leaving the EU. The effort for the electorate was considerable, especially on the EU referendum where I believe it was particularly well done (by the electorate though not by the political elite of either side).

If we want better representative democracy, I would suggest more frequent elections and an elected House of Lords. [The Lords also with the Alternative Vote or STV. And with experience on that (and when sufficient time has passed to remain decently respectful of the earlier decision of the 2011 referendum) for a reconsideration on AV with respect to the House of Commons.]

So let us keep representative democracy, with referenda on the most important issues: and especially those where there is (across the parties) political gridlock that general elections cannot resolve.

Best regards

Nigel Sedgwick said...

Obviously, that should read (in the third paragraph in my above comment): "Electors can spend NO more than a small fraction of their time". Apologies.

Best regards

Raedwald said...

Nigel - good points. In response -

I used the term participative (rather than direct) democracy to reflect the most fundamental change since the inception of representative democracy - that communications and technology have overcome many of the barriers of physical distance and information sharing that made sending an MP to Parliament necessary. So we need to look anew at the benefits of *national* representative democracy v. other forms. My earlier views still hold - and I still respect Helena Kennedy's view on representative democracy, though it's not necessarily my own. In particular, we still desperately need the power of recall.

The other huge issue is our democratic deficit. Too many decisions are taken centrally that could be taken locally - and locally there are many opportunities for greater participation

Yet again, we have all become information managers, and the skill is prominent in the young. And there are just too many areas of specialist knowledge for all MPs to be better informed that all citizens.

So yes, I think change will come - hopefully in the UK it will come gradually and incrementally - but successful change is predicated upon universal access to an internet unregulated and uncensored by the establishment.

Until this year I think I am not alone in having underestimated the power of the web in breaking the establishment stranglehold. Now we really have to fight for it.

RAC said...

Whatever the future brings it can do no harm to record the IP addresses of any sites that are important to you and are of the type that google, yahoo etc may think are too stimulating for the common herd. Also it costs nothing to download TAILS, tin foil hats optional....... as yet.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be a rhythm in history that though noty exactly reopeating itself, gives rise to a similar music.

Russia, and now Trump's America, are likely to get closer. Britain after Brexit, is once again an independent player. So on one front, the three WWII allies have come together.

On the other side, Germany and Italy, are combining to destroy the social fabric of Europe, against the wishes of the people, and Eastern Europe. For an ally, they have Turkey, the old WWI ally of Germany.

Are we heading to Germany, Italy and Turkey - the Islamo-Nazi axes.

Will we have to occupy Germany once again?

Anonymous said...

Germans have a penchant for doing things well, almost to perfection They do so even with bad ideas. A bad idea followed to its ultimate folly, with a penchant to do it well, becomes an evil of such proportions that it stains humanity.

Germany to be leader of the West, is one such very bad idea.